“I found an opossum” by Julia at the studio

Monday April 23, 2018
6:07pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

Opossum, opossum, where for art thou possom?
Are ye brothers? Are ye sisters?
Are ye an April Fools joke played by the World Wide Webbeth?
I don’t care much for either or, IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST.
When I was a kid Haley Halpert had a weird-ass obsession with
opposums and would correct everyone if they dropped the O because
HOW THE HELL WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
It’s right up there on the old crazy train with people who are
obsessed with alpacas. They are not cute. They are not sweet.
They are just creepy things that look like llamas. Which is what
makes alpaca lovers even crazier.
One of my first boyfriends was obsessed with alpacas along with
saying “It’s an alpaca not a llama, the two are NOT the same.”
DID YOU KNOW THEY CAN SUCESSFULLY CROSS-BREED, GARRETH?
I had to break his heart into a bazillion pieces over e-mail.

“Very rarely patients develop __________.” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday April 11, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

She’s got a real fear of sickness so she runs for ninety minutes on the treadmill every day after work. She thinks that if she sweats, if her heart rate is increased, she won’t get sick. She’s most scared of cancer and diabetes. Her father had type 2 and died of a heart attack at sixty-five. She only eats chocolate when she’s about to get her period because she should be allowed a tiny indulgence, right? Even then, it’s two squares of dark chocolate with no added sugar. Sugar is the enemy. Sugar makes sickness. So does salt, so does fat, so do carbs. The fear’s been getting worse, as she gets older, because older people are usually sicker people.

“we were in the same grade together” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 15, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

I run for miles just to get close to you and then when you’re there when you’re in front of my there aren’t words there is only my incessant heart that insists on beating seventeen times too fast whenever I’m in your presence.

It doesn’t help that I’m so hungry for love for touch for attention for kissing for you that I hide when your close and that’s not a metaphor I actually hide as in I crawl under the sink and wait until you’re gone.

It doesn’t matter that I ran for miles to get here and that then seeing you real and alive and breathing and looking worse than I thought you’d look it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter I will die here in the cupboard of shame and fear and love and sweat and

oh my god

you’re searching for dish soap.

I’ve been found.

“so you can focus on work at that time” by Julia on the seabus

Saturday September 30, 2017

10:17am

5 minutes

from a text

He’s been getting up early to work on his novel. I think there’s a big plot twist that’s been keeping him going. He leaves me in the bed, kisses my shoulder, and closes the door. I’m awake but asleep. I like knowing that words are calling him from slumber into the most awake he’s been in months. Later, he smiles over at me while he types away, croissant in mouth. I am on in the breakfast nook sipping coffee and reading the paper. I smile back.

I get an opportunity to travel across the country for a conference. When I tell him he gives me a confusing look. Bittersweet eyes.

“don’t go” he says, but I can see that he is excited about me being gone. Eliminating distractions is on his list.

“Are you sure you have to?” he tries once more, a dream or the cure rushing across his brow.

“Letter Writing” by Julia at her desk


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
from the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear guy from the Turkish market buying one kilo of sun-dried tomatoes while wearing a safety vest,

You may have just stolen my heart, permanently, and I’m okay with that.
See I was looking for someone new to give it to, after I got it back from the guy I lent it to without knowing. I was tricked into telling him things about me and letting him see a version of me that most people don’t want to see, or shouldn’t see, or…Oh…now I wish I hasn’t mentioned that part at all cause it’s a bit embarrassing…..
Umm….If I hadn’t written this in pen, I would have erased the aforementioned weirdness but because I hate the way stuff looks scratched out, I will leave it in hopes that you don’t actually mind a little oversharing every now and again.
Back to the important matters at hand, guy wearing a safety vest.
I love sun-dried tomatoes so much and to see you buying them in such a large quantity is incredibly heartening. I can only begin to imagine what you’re planning to do with so many beautiful tomatoes. My biggest fear is that your wife or girlfriend or mother sent you here to buy them for the big party you’re announcing your future plans with a woman other than me at.
….Oh boy.
I wish I could erase that part too.

“Why do we do that?” By Sasha on the Spadina Streetcar


Thursday, August 13, 2015
11:24pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina streetcar

Do you feel lost without your cellphone?
Literally?
Figuratively?
Do you long for the weight of it in your hand, your pocket, your purse, like you might long for a lover or a brownie?
Do you crave to look at it, to check it, to search with it, to move with it?
When do you put it down? Turn it off? Let it go?
Never?
Ever?
Do you shut it down when you shut down? Do you let it rest?
When do you say good morning?
Is it the first thing you look at? Speak to? Connect with?
One new Facebook friend, three new “Likes”, seven Twitter followers, two re-tweets, a text, five emails, a voicemail.
“Hi, it’s Dad. Just calling to say it was so good to see you and I love you.”
“Hey, it’s me. When are you coming over? Do you need dinner?”
“Hi! I heard you’re in town! Welcome back home! Wanna get coffee?”
A voice.
How does it work? No wires, waves, maybe, sound waves, web waves, waves like the ocean but in the sky, searching, searching, searching.
Touch screen, touch fingers, touch bellies.

“I am a taffy snob” by Julia in the stairwell of the Artscape Youngplace building


Saturday May 30, 2015 at the Artscape Youngplace Building
4:01pm
5 minutes
From a text to Julia

I was in Halifax when I tried my first piece. Salt water. Perfect Melting New Religion. I bought 6 lbs of the stuff and threw out a pair of running shoes and a flask so I could fit it into my suitcase.
Emmy said, “I would have taken those shoes!”
Taryn said, “you know you can buy that stuff in Ontario too, right?”
But I knew it wouldn’t have been the same. It was like entering a childhood backwards, and experiencing something that was never mine but felt like it was meant to be. Now I don’t go for any old taffy. And why would I? I don’t hate myself for Christ’s sake! Why would I walk if I could run? No scratch that–FLY.

Choosing what is important for her” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 27, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

She’s kept a food journal for twelve years. Mostly it’s been a secret. Only three people know. Sonja – because they spend so much time together and secrets are boring to keep for so long with someone so close; Pete (her once removed ex) – because he once caught her writing in it, when she’d thought he’d been asleep, and he asked and asked until she caved and then he made endless fun of her (via questions) and then she left him; and Jillian – because when Jillian was going through her sex change she felt it was only fair to reveal something private and strange and a bit shameful because Jillian was revealing so much so publicly and it was all she could think to reveal of herself.

She decides, one particularly rainy evening, as she sits cross-legged on her bed, her sheepdog Oscar snoring beside her, that this madness has to stop. She’s taken to recounting everything she’s eaten before bed, a kind of calming ritual, perhaps similar to putting ones legs up against the wall or praying (but entirely different). Today, she can’t remember what she’d eaten for lunch. Was it a can of tuna on baby salad greens? Was it miso soup? Was it half a cantaloupe with cottage cheese? Was it a protein shake? It was as though every day was every other day and nothing was as it should be. “Why am I doing this?” She asks aloud, Oscar waking up and cocking his head towards her, just the amount of sympathy she needs.

“Selfie?” by Julia on the train to Bologna


Sunday December 7, 2014
2:32pm
5 minutes
Overheard on a bridge in Venice

This man was selling SELFIE ARMS. Do you even know what those are? Ok, say you want to take a vacation and you’re all by yourself. Say you want a memory of you and the ocean but you don’t want to take the photo on your own cause it’ll look like you don’t have anyone else or that you got desperate and needed to see your face beside a landmark. There are contraptions you can buy, attach to your phone, and then, I don’t know, program it to take a photo in precisely the right amount of time for you to get ready, smile, wish you had someone there with you even though you’re happy you’re learning about independence and humility, and trusting your own instincts or whatever, and then think back to that ocean that you’ll be so damn happy you have a record of. They sell those now, you know?

“Selfie?” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday December 7, 2014
11:04am
5 minutes
Overheard on a bridge in Venice

I’m not sure about this snap snap craze
I’m on the other side and I’ve been there for days
I dig the reclamation of representation of self
But there’s something about connection that’s up on a shelf
Looking up and down the row of face and phone
I wonder about reality, what’s here and what’s shown
Portraiture has always and forever been a thing
But the self obsession and preoccupation makes me wanna fling
My iPhone in the ocean and let it wash out to sea
I don’t need a photo to tell myself who’s me

“on which the blues would have sounded” by Julia outside the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam


Tuesday November 18, 2014
4:19pm
5 minutes
from a write up on the photograph Interior by Peter Sakaer

My lungs for you, Amelia, are filled with an intoxicating breath. I inhale you once and I am addicted. I must have you again. I must feel you…
Your nonchalance about this awakens something inside me that I had thought I’d put to sleep. It roars within me. It’s suddenly hungry and ready. I’d happily upset my chest stitches for the chance to please you. Against doctor’s orders to remain still and to avoid heavy instances of “sport”, I will pursue you with my fullest self–mind, body, spirit. And it will require all my dedication but you are worth it. 2 extra weeks in the hospital with despicable food? I can stand it–Nay! I embrace it!

“Don’t make the same mistake twice” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Friday April 18, 2014
7:03pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Queen St.

Last time I sat there for you like an idiot with a death wish. It was that bad, and don’t try to tell me that it wasn’t. I mean, I waited and waited for you, or for a sign, and you just kept making me into a bigger and bigger fool. Or I made myself into a fool. I guess that’s how it happened. You didn’t quite ask me to do it, did you? I mean, you didn’t not ask me. And you certainly gave off the impression that it would be “worth my while” even though you didn’t say that outright. You didn’t have to: I inferred. And I wish I could take it back, but instead I just hope I don’t fall into that same trap again. You know, like tomorrow when you make me want you all over again just by wearing that oversized wind breaker that you look so darn good in. But then you have your ways with me, the way you do with most women. Everyone always wants to be around you and you bring them close, but then when one gets too attached, you do some weird gymnastics dismount away from the situation and distance yourself with a kind of cruelty that I do not have the patience for, nor the ability to resist.

“Make a green choice” by Julia at Bodhi Coffee in Philadelphia


Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:55pm at Bodhi Coffee
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

There was a sign that she couldn’t help but stare at. It looked like a child had drawn the font, cut out each letter one by one, and pasted them akk to it without adult supervision. She was captivated by the colours, the shapes, the unique feeling it made her connect with. It read “Do The Right Thing. Do It ‘Till You Die.” It seemed like US Army propaganda from the 40s, but it looked like it was made only yesterday, or this morning, even, not giving the glue enough time to dry properly. The rest of the font was too small to see from where she was sitting. She didn’t want to move just to go up to it, feeling a little self-conscious that the sign, the poster from yesterday or today, had worked its magic on her. So she stayed where she was and glanced over at it hanging in the window only every other minute, and only after first looking all around it to make sure it seemed like she just had a curious and inquisitive eye. Nobody was looking at it. She wondered if the person responsible for making it or posting it up was sitting in the cafe with her, watching her watch the damn thing.

“Inn of Olde” by Julia in the van in St. John’s


Monday March 24, 2014
6:01pm
5 minutes
from the sign for Linda’s in Quidi Vidi, NF

You saw it there just collecting dust and you wanted to bend down to brush it off without anyone noticing.
You coughed in that moment. Just enough to distract yourself from what you were doing, thinking, yeah, hey, that’s a pretty good idea, maybe other people will be distracted too.
So you coughed again. And then everyone looked at you because, what, is she sick?
You smiled and you started toward the bathroom. Maybe you could envision the space better in private? You thought that to yourself. You hoped some time away from it would be a good thing for you and for the dust.
You hoped it would start a train of people going to use the restroom as long as they saw someone breaking the ice. The way people always wait to go up for seconds until they see a small girl with an appetite problem go up first and take down two more slices.
You were thinking about that one thing so hard your brain started to hurt.
You left the bathroom with the distraction of entrances and exits.
The crowd had moved so you thought you had an in.
You walked up to it and you looked around. Would anyone even care? You asked yourself this too.

“Free evening newspaper” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday March 11, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
9:33pm
5 minutes
the to.night street box

Charlie and Ray were spying on Lacey again from their bedroom window. Lacey’s room was in perfect view of the boy’s room and they got real good at sitting in the complete darkness just waiting for Lacey to come home from violin practice and..you know..change for bed. Charlie saw her first, and as such was very protective. Charlie knew that Ray was just eager to see her lady business and he didn’t actually appreciate Lacey the way he did..the way she deserved.
Ray was under the influence of her spell binding, maturing body…parts…and he could tell that Charlie was maybe gay or just plain stupid if he turned his face away every time she took her top off. Ray was certain that he would have Lacey to himself one day soon because it looked like Charlie was getting bored of her, always conveniently finding a crossword or a weather clipping from the nightly newspaper to pay attention to just when it was getting good.

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.